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October 2019

Alchemist Discussions

Discussion Post 1

What do you think about Santiago’s father’s response to his son’s desire to travel on page 10-11?

In the book “The Alchemist”, the main character Santiago wants to explore the world as he gets older. He tells his dad, who did not have the same plan for Santiago. Santiago’s dad responded the way he did because Santiago’s parents wanted him to become a priest so his simple farm family could be proud of him. Santiago had studied Latin, Spanish, and Theology in school. Even though he had an education and could’ve gone for a job like a priest that his parents wanted for him, Santiago wanted to know the world. To him, this was much more important than knowing God and learning about man’s sins. Santiago’s dad also talked about how people all over the world come to their village. He explained how they had the most beautiful woman and the best castles and mountains. His dad said, “Those people, when they see our land, say that they would like to live here forever”, trying to prove again that their village was the best and he should stay instead of leaving the amazing village they lived in. The response from Santiago’s dad is a reminder of the amazing place they live, but also that he and the rest of their family care for Santiago and want him to be a source of pride for the family.

Discussion Post 3

How does Santiago's mindset change on pg. 43-45? Why is this shift significant?

 

In the book, “The Alchemist”, the main character Santiago makes a new “friend” who he trusts with his money while starting his journey in Tangier. Santiago and the young man made a plan of how they would get to the pyramids. Santiago didn’t mention the treasure to him, because he didn't want to be asked for a part of it again in return for the help he’s given. Santiago ends up giving the man the money as they walked together so that he could buy whatever was necessary for them to get to the Pyramids. As they’re walking, Santiago gets distracted by a miraculous sword he sees, and when he turns back around, his new friend is gone with his money. At first, Santiago is really down about this. He’s disappointed in himself for letting the boy carry his money and letting him out of his sight. He also beings to regret taking this risk, leaving his sheep and all that was familiar to behind, for this dream of his. But then he begins to think of it all. He reaches into his pouch and finds the stones the King gave him. He asks if the King is still with him, and he pulled out the stone that meant “yes”. After this he changed his mindset by remembering that he took this risk and he is on a journey. He decides to focus on the good things, and continue as the adventurer he always wanted to be.

Discussion Post 7

The alchemist tells Santiago, "When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person realize his dream." Do you believe this to be true?

I do believe this is true in a way, but not in the way it’s used in the book. In the book, this is true while Santiago is trying to achieve his personal lesson. Many events conspire that over time lead him to get closer and closer to reaching this dream. When the alchemist says this in the book it seems like magically people would help you in major ways to realize your dream. The way I believe this works is that when someone is really determined to do something or achieve something people can notice that and help them achieve it. Most of the time if people have a very strong motivation to do something like this they will be given some assistance by people around them which will create an even stronger drive for them. This has been the case in my life, but for more everyday things, like when I am really determined to do well on a test, or make a sports team. I’m able to push all of the negatives aside and focus on achieving my goal or dream.

Discussion Post 8

“The journey is more important than the destination." Discuss this quote as it relates to Coelho's fable, The Alchemist.

This quote plays a strong part in The Alchemist and in Santiago’s development as a person throughout the book. Towards the beginning of the book, Santiago meets a king after he has a recurring dream. His dream is to go to the Pyramids and find a treasure. The king helps Santiago decided to sell his sheep, and leave to pursue his dream. Along this journey, Santiago learns so much about life that he would have never learned before. When he first gets to Tangier he is robbed of all of his only, which is when he faces his first challenge. He ends up bouncing back from this misfortune by getting a job at a crystal store. Santiago improves and grows this store with his many ideas. He also learns a lot from the merchant who owns the store. After this Santiago goes on to travel across the desert to the oasis, and from there to the pyramids. Throughout all of this time, Santiago learns to listen to everyone and everything because they all have things to say and stories to tell. In the end, even though Santiago finds his treasure, what he has learned from the journey is more important than the treasure itself.

Crystal Merchant Paragraph

One important lesson Santiago learns while he is working for the crystal merchant is that not all people want to follow their dreams. Santiago loses all of his money in Tangier and comes across a crystal merchant who he begins working for, in order to gain his money back. During this time he finds out that the merchant has a dream to visit Mecca for his religion. Although the merchant has had this dream for a long time, he feels that once he has visited Mecca life will have no meaning anymore. The merchant explains Santiago, “I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I’ll have no reason to go on living” (57). Once the merchant tells Santiago this, he realizes that it is not a goal for everyone to achieve their dreams. Right when Santiago has his dream about finding the treasure, he meets the king and decided to leave everything behind to follow this dream. He did not think about never leaving to search for the treasure and just imagining what it would be like just as the merchant did. Although Santiago seems to have a different motivation to follow his dream than the merchant, he still learns something new from this lesson the merchant teaches him. The merchant teaches Santiago to expand his mindset in these scenarios and take a better look at all of his options. Santiago has never thought about what would happen if he didn’t find the treasure after this whole journey, or if he wouldn’t make it to the pyramids in the first place. This is a good insight from the merchant that can definitely help Santiago throughout his life. 

Alchemist Final Essay: Unheard Voices 

Sometimes, the quiet and unheard voices are the ones that should be listened to. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, tells a story of a young man from Southern Spain and his dream to achieve his Personal Legend. Throughout his life-changing journey from Andalusia, Spain, to the Egyptian pyramids, Santiago strives to find treasure, loses all of his money, meets various mentors, falls in love, and several lessons. In the end, he finds out that the treasure is hidden right where he started his journey. In The Alchemist, there are lots of lessons to take away that Santiago learns throughout his journey, but some of the most important lessons are from the least expected people or things. On Santiago’s quest to achieve his Personal Legend, he learns some important lessons from two voices he didn’t know he was able to hear.

One of the most important and unusual mentors towards the end of Santiago’s journey is his heart. Santiago’s heart is very helpful in pointing him towards his treasure while he is traveling with the alchemist. It helps Santiago learn things from the Soul of The World that he never would’ve been able to know otherwise. When Santiago meets Fatima, a young woman who lives in the oasis Santiago stops at, his heart helps teach him the language of the world. This language is love. Because he realizes his love for Fatima it is very hard for Santiago to leave her and continue to fulfill his dream. As the alchemist explains to Santiago, “Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the soul of the word, and it will one day return there” (pg.132). Santiago is able to understand the meaning of communicating with his heart. It is something that will always be with him as long as it is alive, and provides wisdom that Santiago can’t get from anywhere else. It’s very important that Santiago knows he always has a mentor with him in case he ever needs help and has no one else around. Although his heart sometimes doesn’t want to suffer and tries to prevent Santiago from doing something, for the most part, it’s a very distinctive mentor than any other he meets along his journey. Santiago’s heart isn’t the only surprising guide he meets while pursuing his Personal Legend, as he travels through multiple places along his journey, and learns from some of them as well.

One of these places Santiago learns from is the desert. Santiago first encounters the desert while traveling in the caravan with the Englishman and the other travelers seeking to complete their own journeys. Instead of going most of the journey in silence doing nothing, Santiago decides to make an effort to learn from the desert. Santiago thinks to himself, “I’ve learned things from the sheep, and I’ve learned things from crystal. I can learn something from the desert too. It seems old and wise” (pg.76). The desert is one of the first things that Santiago realizes he’s able to learn from that isn’t a person. While traveling through the desert, Santiago tells the Englishman of everything he’s observed while paying close attention to the caravan and the desert around him. This allows both of them to learn something new and try to get invested in something they wouldn’t normally care for. After Santiago learns from the desert he has more confidence in communicating and learning lessons from other people and things. Like Santiago’s heart, the desert turns out to be an interesting source of wisdom for Santiago that he couldn’t find any other way.

In life, sometimes the most important voices are the ones that are least anticipated to be helpful. In The Alchemist, Santiago undergoes a crazy journey to achieve his Personal Legend. Along this journey, he faces multiple challenges where a mentor or some other source of wisdom can help him proceed towards his goal. Two of the most important of these mentors are very unpredictable. Santiago’s heart and the desert. Santiago learns to follow his heart and how to use it to help him make difficult decisions. The desert provides a source of wisdom while Santiago is traveling across the desert for a long time. Learning from the desert changes his mindset to be more open to learning in the future when he normally wouldn’t try. This lesson can be applied in the real world as well. If people are more observant and open to new ideas they will learn more just as Santiago was able to learn from his heart and the desert.